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  • Highlight - Study Abroad

Languages & Cultures

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  • Educational Trips

    Costa Rica Trip  

    The Languages and Cultures Department is offering an exciting, four-week study abroad experience to Costa Rica in spring 2012. Students will test their Spanish communication skills by interacting with the people and the culture of this Central American country and by taking classes through the University of San Jose in Costa Rica.

    Costa Rica is a diverse country. Geographically, it offers beaches, rainforests and volcanoes. The major economic resources are fertile land and frequent rainfall. Agriculturally, Costa Rica is known for its bananas, pineapple and coffee. In recent years, the country has made major strides in high technology and healthcare product companies.

    “Pura Vida,” which means pure life or good life, is the most recognizable phrase attached to Costa Ricans and aptly reflects the Costa Rican way of life. 

    Past Trips

    The spring 2011 Studies Abroad trip provided students with an introduction to Ecuador’s highly diverse culture and geography. Dr. Mafla-Bustamante met with students once a week for nine weeks before the trip to teach about the country’s culture, geography, flora and fauna. During the trip, students practiced speaking Spanish with the Ecuadorian people. English-speaking guides were available for those who did not speak Spanish. After the trip, students presented their final projects.

    The group toured Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the World Heritage site, visiting the colonial center, the Presidential Palace and the Pululahua Crater at the Equator Line. The highlight of the trip was five days exploring the Ecuadorian Islands—Galápagos—also a World Heritage site. They visited the islands of Santa Cruz, Isabela, Seymour North and Floreana, where the first settlers lived. At the Charles Darwin Station, they observed the giant Galápagos turtles. They snorkeled in Tortuga Bay beach. Students saw frigate birds, blue footed boobies, land iguanas, penguins, flamingoes, sea lions, and much more. The country boasts more than 100,000 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants. On Isabela, students rode horses to see the Sierra Negra volcano, the second biggest crater in the world (52 km).

    Students providing glowing reviews of the academic experience. Comments included feeling more confident in Spanish as they spoke the language and absorbed the culture, attaining a broader global perspective, learning about the social and natural history of Ecuador and crediting the trip director for a well-organized, worthwhile adventure.

    International Exchange Programs

    Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. Studying abroad completely immerses students in the language and culture. Students work closely with their faculty advisor to plan a course of study that will apply to the major and minor coursework.

    Exchange programs include:

    Spanish            Recent trips have included Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica and Ecuador. The spring 2012 trip is set for Costa Rica.
    Chinese Students in East Asian Studies can focus on Chinese while attending Nankai University in Tianjin, China, for one or two semesters and earning 12-16 MSUM credits per semester. Students may also earn credits through an internship in China. For more details, contact Takanori Mita at
    Japanese Students in East Asian Studies focusing on Japanese can choose from among three exchange programs. Each is an intensive Japanese language experience for students with strong Japanese language skills and an interest in being fully immersed in the culture. For more details, contact Takanori Mita at
        • Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS); Chiba, Japan (near Tokyo)
        • Kanto Gakuin University; Yokohama, Japan
        • Nagoya Gakuin University; Nagoya Gakuin Seto, Japa


    The following are links to learn more about the participating universities:

    Tianjin, China | Kanda University, Japan
    Kanto Gakuin University, Japan | Nagoya Gakuin University, Japan